Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
Director, Genetics and Aging Research Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Rudolph Tanzi has been investigating human neurodegenerative disease since 1980 when he joined a study with Dr. James Gusella that led to discovery of the Huntington's disease gene. Subsequently he focused on Alzheimer's disease and in 1987 isolated the first familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD) gene, the amyloid b protein precursor. In 1993, Dr. Tanzi isolated the gene responsible for Wilson's disease and collaborated in isolating the gene causing a familial form of Lou Gehrig's disease. He played a key role in identifying two other FAD genes in 1995.
Since then Dr. Tanzi has continued to study Alzheimer's disease, most recently investigating how defects in the known AD genes cause neurodegeneration. He also has been engaged in large-scale attempts to identify novel genes associated with late-onset typical AD. He was scientific founder for two biotech companies, Neurogenetics, Inc., and Prana Biotechnology, that currently are developing novel therapies for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Prof. Tanzi serves on over a dozen editorial boards and has received many awards, including The Metropolitan Life Foundation Award for Medical Research and The Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick's, Alzheimer's and Related Disorders. He also received the French Foundation Fellowship Award, the Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences Award, the Nathan Shock, and the Alzheimer's Association T.L.L.Temple Award. He belongs to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and serves on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Aging. He has co-authored over 250 research articles and the book Decoding Darkness: The Search for the Genetic Causes of Alzheimer's disease. Prof. Tanzi holds degrees from the University of Rochester and Harvard University.